Andy Hamilton named new Athletic Director


Andy Hamilton ’85 hopes to make athletics an enhancment to students’ academic experience. Photo by Misha Gelnarova

Gabe Lehman

Andy Hamilton ’85 hopes to make athletics an enhancment to students’ academic experience. Photo by Misha Gelnarova
Andy Hamilton ’85 hopes to make athletics an enhancment to students’ academic experience.
Photo by Misha Gelnarova

Andy Hamilton ’85 will become Grinnell College’s next Athletic Director, and the College would be hard-pressed to find someone more qualified for the position. Along with being an alumnus, Hamilton has worked for Grinnell athletics for the past 32 years in multiple capacities. After first working as an assistant coach on the football team, Hamilton has climbed up the ranks, spending the last 21 years as the men’s head tennis coach and last 9 as the women’s head coach. He has also been the Assistant Athletic Director since 2007 and has served as the interim Athletic Director on and off since the beginning of 2015.

While Hamilton is excited to take the reins, he does not expect to drastically alter Grinnell’s athletic program.

“I think it would be unwise to suggest that major changes are on the horizon. This is an athletic program that absolutely fits with the goal that an intercollegiate athletic experience enhance education. It accentuates an education for an individual and that is the way we have operated for decades,”  Hamilton said.

Hamilton will have some pretty large shoes to fill, taking over from the previous A.D, Gregory Wallace, who has served the school for over 27 years. Wallace acted as the football coach, golf coach and baseball coach before becoming A.D. In stepping down, it is the little things that Wallace says he will miss.

“People asked me when I didn’t coach football what I missed there. And in that sense it was the camaraderie and the small group meetings I would have with the players. And I think I will miss the same thing with the coaches simply because it is the day-to-day things that you miss most,” Wallace said.

While Wallace is stepping down from the A.D. position, he will continue to serve the school as a coordinator of student athlete recruitment and is taking comfort in seeing the program being handed over to a competent individual.

“It is a great opportunity for Coach Hamilton and I think it will be a great partnership that he will have with our coaches as well as with the administration,” Wallace said.

Hamilton is thrilled about his new post but it does mean that he will have to give up one of his passions coaching tennis. Hamilton will stay on as the men’s head coach next year, but will phase out his responsibilities as an active coach in the near future. 

“It is hard for me to say right now how tough it will be, but I am sure it will be tough. We have been able to create a very nice success in both the men’s and women’s tennis programs. Of course, I have the added benefit and challenge of coaching both my children: my daughter Lily [Hamilton ’19], who is a first-year on the women’s team and my son William [Hamilton ’17] who is a third-year on the men’s team,” Hamilton said.

To say that the tennis program has been successful is an understatement: the men’s team, for instance, has won Conference the past twelve years running.

Hamilton added that despite his new post, “in my deepest personhood, in my soul, I have coaching. And coaching is educating. So it will be a different type of educating that I will have to do as the director of athletics.”